CHICAGO (CBS) — A broken sewer line in Harvey is creating a disgusting situation after heavy storms. CBS 2 first told you about the smelly issue last week, and now another homeowner has showed us devastating damage from a sewer backup.
Morning Insider Lauren Victory headed to Harvey City Hall for answers.
Rekieta Terrell and her sister bought and just finished renovating their first home at the end of April. They already have to gut it, after a devastating deluge on Memorial Day weekend.
“Sewage water just came directly into the house, and flooded everything,” Terrell said.
Two miles away, also in the city of Harvey, nasty liquid infiltrated Bruce McChristian’s home, too.
The smelly back-ups were blamed on Harvey’s old, crumbling sewer system.
“This happened due to deferred maintenance,” said Harvey city administrator Timothy Williams.
As expected, Willams pointed to funding issues, but he said a relatively new batch of Harvey leaders are fighting more aggressively for infrastructure grants.
“We just recently brought on a new engineering firm,” he said “To make sure we have a complete atlas of all of our water mains.”
They’re also relying on residents, sending out a survey with May’s water bill.
“We’re just trying to get some data, so that we have a better sense of the challenges that we have,” Williams said.
To prevent flooding in the future, Williams says Public Works regularly flushes the system. But what about the past?
“It is my understanding that a good portion of that water main is collapsed,” he said.
What if property owners sue the city for knowing that and not fixing it earlier?
“That’s a question that I wouldn’t attempt to answer at this point,” Williams said.
Terrell is planning legal action, because while her flood insurance will replace the walls and some appliance, it won’t pay for new floors, the new bathroom vanity, or the new sofa and more.
“So far, we’re already up to like $12,000 worth of damage that the insurance is not covering,” she said.
Williams asked for time and patience, and CBS 2 will follow up on his promise to dig Harvey residents out of a situation that keeps bubbling up.
“I’d say that help is on the way,” he said.
Just this week, the city submitted an application for a $5 million infrastructure grant from the state. Harvey Public Works also was out at McChristian’s home on Wednesday to assess the problem.